Major steel firm head arrested on suspicion of paying ETA

2nd July 2008, Comments 0 comments

The chief executive of Sidenor was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of having paid terrorist group ETA's so-called revolutionary tax.

2 July 2008

MADRID - The chief executive of one of Spain's biggest steel manufacturers was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of having paid terrorist group ETA's so-called "revolutionary tax".

The detention was the result of information found when the alleged head of the Basque separatist group, known as Thierry, was arrested in France in May.

The businessman, José Antonio Jainaga, was arrested at his home in Bilbao on Tuesday morning. The Civil Guard then searched his house under a court order issued by High Court Judge Baltasar Garzón.

Jainaga's company, Sidenor, is considered the biggest Spanish manufacturer of special steels, forgings and castings, and has a workforce of 3,000. The firm is part of the Brazilian multinational group Gerdau. Spokesmen from Sidenor insisted Tuesday on the "complete integrity" of their chief executive.

Extortion is a common method employed by the terrorist group to raise funds, with letters often sent to Basque businesses demanding the payment of the "tax".

In response to the news of the arrest, Basque nationalist party Eusko Alkartasuna said in a note that those who suffer extortion at the hands of ETA are "victims" and that the state should "protect them and not arrest them".

On 12 June, two Basque businesswomen were arrested in Guipúzcoa for paying money voluntarily to ETA.

[El Pais / S.H. / Expatica]

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